When I was about eight or nine years old, I met a toy that I would always keep safely in my memory. THE GYM DANDY SURREY. I wanted one. I needed one. I never, ever actually owned one. It is over 50 years since I first saw the beauty of the GYM DANDY in a friend’s driveway. It was truly amazing. My parents just could not really understand my insistent disclaimer about this toy. They were from a much different generation.
Now I understand the situation. They were young teenagers when the Great Depression began. Times were rough. Then WWII came along. My dad was in the Navy during the war. After he returned, my brother was four years old instead of the baby he had left. My mother lived with my grandparents while my dad was gone. When the war began and ended, they had barely started their life together. I imagine it was difficult to get back into the comings and goings of everyday life. They worked and saved and were able to buy a brand new house in a nice neighborhood. I was born as the fifties were coming upon us.
The baby boomers, the consumers, the future hippies were born. And the parents who grew up during the depression seemed forever worried about money, success, saving, and conservative viewpoints. Their children were often so very different. I became a member of the consumer generation when I saw that GYM DANDY SURREY. I forgot about it most of the time. I went through a phase of wanting a Ford Mustang. I loved that car when I finally got one. I went through a phase of wanting a Chevrolet Camaro. I had two of those and loved those cars. However, I still would think about the GYM DANDY SURREY off and on for years. My husband thought that I might be quite crazy for having an obsession for a pedal surrey made for children. He had never seen one…how could he possibly understand?
And then we saw one. I couldn’t believe it. We were visiting in Oklahoma City and stopped by a place that sold used and very old parts for Ford vehicles. Our son had a 1959 Ford truck…almost an antique. We walked in and there was the real antique sitting on top of a display…a GYM DANDY SURREY! I stared in complete awe. My husband and son were slightly impressed. Our daughter was about nine years old and thought it was just downright weird. That was my first encounter with a personal GENERATION GAP. I was thinking that maybe I could still find one intact somewhere, someplace. I even asked the owner of the Ford store if he would like to sell it. He said “Are you kidding? That is going to be worth a fortune someday!”…hey wait…I thought that I was the only person in the world with a GYM DANDY need and want. There were other weird people! Validation!
I am still on the hunt for a GYM DANDY. I find them on EBAY and CRAIGSLIST. Some are almost reasonably priced, but need lots of work. Sometimes, the pedals are missing or the fringe on the top canopy is torn off. Sometimes, the canopy is totally gone. Sometimes, there is an absolutely perfectly restored GYM DANDY. The price tends to be on the very high side. I would have bought one by now (maybe one that needs a little work), but they are usually located in New York or Pennsylvania or Rhode Island or somewhere else in the northeast. No shipping on the GYM DANDY. They are too precious for shipping. Ha! See…I was right! I was the ultimate consumer even as a child.
Our daughter still thinks it is weird that I want one…even when I mention how our future grandchildren will like it so very much. It is just that GENERATION GAP…she is certain that I could spend my money on something far more important than a four seat child size surrey with the fringe on top. Are you kidding? What could be better than a GYM DANDY?